Express & Star

Festival promises 10-days of vivid, colourful and fun events

A programme of diversity, colour and fun is set to bring back memories of the summer of sport.

Birmingham Festival 23 Board Member Satnam Rana enjoys a dance with the Astro Groovers

The full programme of events for the Birmingham Festival 2023 has been officially announced a month ahead of the start of the 10-day event, which marks the one-year anniversary of the Commonwealth Games on July 28.

Commissioned and supported by Birmingham City Council to celebrate the city’s creativity, Arts Council England and University of Birmingham were previously announced as Principle Partners and Hollywood Monster as Presenting Partner.

Birmingham Library on Centenary Square was the setting for the launch event on Wednesday, bringing together performers, local dignitaries and artists who would be appearing at the festival to learn more about the plans from the organisers.

The showcase by 93:00 Collective featured dancing, rapping and singing. Photo: Verity Milligan

After speeches from host and Birmingham Festival 23 Board Member Satnam Rana and Birmingham Councillor Saima Suleman, Creative Director Raidene Carter detailed the plans for each day of the festival and the different strands taking place each day.

These include Sound Bath, an hour-long sensory experience, Perry's Picnic Party, featuring the Games's mascot, Made in Brum, a showcase of local performers, Power Hour, an hour of high-energy exercise, and Twilight Takeover, an evening of entertainment to end each day.

The festival programme will run from 11am to 9pm each day and sees a wide range of acts and entertainment, from Birmingham legend Apache Indian to Harborne's Got 2 Sing Choir and Jasmine Gardosi bringing her award-winning "Dancing to Music you hate" to the stage.

There will also be DJ sets, activities for children, cultural music and themed days, with the likes of festival partners South Asian Arts and Heritage (SAMPAD) and FABRIC, taking over days of the festival.

Among the acts performing at the festival is 93:00 Collective, a diverse collective of artists and unique art forms across the music industry and creative arts industry.

Members of the Collective performed a 20-minute set at the launch event, providing a small sample of the show people can expect to see on Friday, August 4.

Rapper and leader of the collective Tarju Le'Sano said the group was about creating content and celebrating diversity and aimed to bring a lot to the festival.

Tarju Le'Sano said it was a huge opportunity to platform and showcase to the younger generation. Photo: Verity Milligan

He said: "What we're doing for the festival is bring multiple art forms to the forefront of what we do in the city as Birmingham gets slept on for our lack of industry, but what is for certain is that we never get stepped on for our talent.

"We wanted to make sure that we platform and showcase to the younger generation and what they're achieving here, and all the collaborators are from this area and have been in our creative network for the past few years.

"It feels like a triumphant homecoming as well and I think the city needs it, so what they can expect from our show is high energy and what we are trying to do is immerse people in our narrative around the perspective of 70 years into the future and what it holds for us."

The launch event saw several other performers intermingling, including two members of the Astro Groovers, who danced and carried a sense of fun all the way through the event, and Friendly Fire Band, who were there to enjoy the launch ahead of headlining the opening night.

Raidene Carter, who was a leading figure in the 2022 Festival, spoke of her own excitement about the festival, saying she might feel herself getting a bit more emotional when it starts due to memories of a year ago.

Raidene Carter spoke about the diversity and colour of the programme and about celebrating Birmingham. Photo: Verity Milligan

She said: "I think everyone will be remembering all the brilliant stuff that went on last year and the exciting thing is that the city has moved on and has reflected on how good a job was done on the Games, so this is about celebrating Birmingham and thanking people for turning up.

"The programme is incredibly diverse in every way, both art form and the people making it. Last year, we managed to bring out really diverse audiences and that's what we want to do again.

"Centenary Square is going to look so different this year as we are taking over the whole site, it will be free, which means no ticket barriers and we'll be putting on 10 days and nights of free and accessible programming."

To find out more about the Birmingham Festival and the events on offer, go to

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